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#2360515 - 11/24/11 09:15 AM How to play organ in a blues band?
telecaster Offline
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Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 63
Loc: Drøbak Norway
Would love to get my hands on some instructional books, DVDs or websites about how to become a good organ player...........
I am mainly thinking about how to lay good chords behind a singer and a lead guitar. I do not really struggle too much with solos (learning all the time) by I find it really hard to find the best or right chords sometime.
Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?
I do listen to a lot of good players but its not always easy to find out what they are doing back there :-)
cheers
Otto


Edited by telecaster (11/24/11 11:28 AM)
Edit Reason: typo
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#2360527 - 11/24/11 10:11 AM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: telecaster]
Outkaster Offline
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Registered: 02/25/06
Posts: 3669
Loc: Rochester, NY
Otto really a lot of practice and just studying videos. Websites and DVDs can only get you so far.
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#2360529 - 11/24/11 10:29 AM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: Outkaster]
yorgatron Offline
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Registered: 01/31/08
Posts: 588
Loc: San Jose Ca.
less is more, just play the 3rd and 7th notes of the chord with your right hand, and control the speed of the Leslie and drawbar settings with your left hand.

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#2360545 - 11/24/11 11:39 AM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: yorgatron]
telecaster Offline
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Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 63
Loc: Drøbak Norway
Thanks both of you! :-)
Outcaster you are of course right, but still I am looking for
something to read that could bring me "further up on the road"
so to speak. There seems to be tons of books about jazz piano
voicings, but I have not yet stumbled upon something for blues
organ. I got Cohens Hammond DVD, a real turnoff for me, more
like a pianoplayers guide to the Hammond, not really giving away
any Hammond wisdom.
Its quite a few very good organplayers out there, some of them
even here on this forum like Jim Alfredson, I listen a lot
to what they are doing, but I am not always able to find out
how they do it :-)

Thanks yorgatron, thats the kind of input I am looking for,
but as I said it would be nice to find something written or
spoken as in a DVD, to take me a step or two upwards.
cheers
otto


Edited by telecaster (11/24/11 11:40 AM)
Edit Reason: typo
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#2360566 - 11/24/11 01:05 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: telecaster]
dodonnell Offline
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Registered: 02/12/10
Posts: 61
Loc: Sacramento, CA
Brian Auger -- B-3 Master (DVD) (2009) http://www.amazon.com/Brian-Auger-B-3-Ma...5494&sr=1-2

DVD-Blues and Rock Techniques for Hammond Organ http://www.amazon.com/DVD-Blues-Rock-Techniques-Hammond-Organ/dp/B0007QQW54

The Blues/Rock Piano of Johnnie Johnson: Sessions with a Keyboard Legend [VHS]http://www.amazon.com/Blues-Rock-Piano-J...5380&sr=1-7

Guitar Center has several DVDs and VHS http://www.guitarcenter.com/Piano---Keyboard-Instruction-Videos-Piano---Keyboard-Instruction,New-Gear.gc

The Johnnie Johnson video is great. I learned a lot from it.

Duane
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#2360579 - 11/24/11 02:45 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: dodonnell]
anchovyd Offline
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Registered: 07/30/08
Posts: 236
Loc: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Telecaster,

For DVDs check out the Tony Monaco DVDs he's a jazz organist and really knows the instrument. He has a couple of Blues DVDs where he breaks it down nice and easy. You have to order from his website b3monaco and he has some other DVDs discussing basic Hammond technique, registrations, etc. and improv.

Like the other guy said as far as voicings go, less is more 3/7 two note voices are okay but I prefer to use 3 note voicings. Four note and two handed voicings will start to sound muddy real quick. You can play four note stuff up high or if you use really open chords in fourths or something but close voicings will be muddy which is okay occasionally for effect but not to use non stop.

Peace,
D.

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#2360589 - 11/24/11 03:04 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: dodonnell]
learjeff Offline
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Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 7624
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Here are a couple simple tricks that I get a lot of mileage from.

The first is for dominant blues (not minor). Play 3 & 7. On the IV chord, drop each finger a half tone, so you're playing 7 & 3. You can extend this trick by going a half step up on both fingers (from the I chord) for the V chord. Yeah, it's a lot of parallel fifths so don't overdo it, but especially for slow blues using a clear flutey tone (e.g., 800005005), it provides a nice continuity under the more dynamic guitar parts.

The other is the same trick I use more on piano, which is to take the standard 7-3-5 voicing for a dominant chord, and walk it up and down the scale 2 steps (3 chords altogether). Also, omitting the middle of the three notes.

Experiment with legato voicing changes between the I-IV-V chords. (The first trick above is the simplest case of that.)
For example going from 7-3-5 voicing on the I to 5-7-3 voicing on the IV. When you have the triads worked out, try omitting a note (especially the middle note).

Another nice one on I is to play a 6 chord (1-3-6 voicing) well after the 1 beat and resolve by dropping the triad down a whole tone to the VII6, essentially playing 7-2-5 in the I chord framework. For example, in C: CEA to BbDG. On the IV chord, you can play that first 6 chord but dropping the middle note: CEbA.

Keyboards can get away with playing solo-like stuff behind the other instruments quite a bit, as long as it's BEHIND. That is, using a muted tone, walking lines between the chords, and lead-like lick but only highlighting when it complements what else is going on. It's *really easy* to overdo this -- filling every hole, for example. A song needs the right amount of holes, so don't fill them all. Leave more holes at the start, and fill them more towards crescendos.

Of course, what I've said above applies equally to piano. But on organ, especially with legato lines, there's a bit more room for walking melodic lines, compared to the more percussive and outspoken piano.

A fun thing to do, especially if you're playing with a good soloist, is to remember melodic themes and "pre-echo" them before the solo.

And the most important thing is to LISTEN to the band and make it your goal to only do what makes them sound better, whatever they're doing. I'm not a very skilled player, but folks enjoy playing blues with me because I listen and I'm delighted to let the others shine. Sometimes I even sit out a whole verse. It's hard to do! But it really adds by subtracting; when the organ does come in for the next verse or a chorus, it adds to the drama without stealing anyone's thunder.

My weakness is solos. Once I've played both my licks ...
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#2360605 - 11/24/11 04:43 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: learjeff]
mate_stubb Online   content
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Forget the jazz stuff for now. It is way more advanced than what you need to know for blues playing.

Pick up some old Allman Brothers (Live at the Fillmore East, for example) and listen to Gregg Allman's simple but effective playing. Start there.
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#2360611 - 11/24/11 05:24 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: telecaster]
orangefunk Offline
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Registered: 04/14/02
Posts: 3185
Originally Posted By: telecaster

Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?
I do listen to a lot of good players but its not always easy to find out what they are doing back there smile
cheers
Otto



Hei Hei

Also go to the jam sessions in Oslo (usually in Grønland) .... I sometimes go there... blues playing is not really my thing but I can survive on a rhodes sound wink

btw. If you really want to get good, I can recommend a fabulous organ teacher in Oslo.

hilsen!

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#2360614 - 11/24/11 05:29 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: mate_stubb]
rockkeys Offline
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Registered: 01/31/11
Posts: 311
Stick to these four simple rules and you will sound like a pro:

1. Don't "jump" from chord to chord, voice-lead by moving each chord tone the smallest possible distance. It sounds self-evident but you'd be suprised... I.e. 3 moves to 7, etc. This is the same as it applies to piano voice leading, or any voice leading for that matter.

2. When holding a pad, make sure you don't just play through the entire song. Everyone loves chocolate, but you don't want to eat it every day....

3. Volume pedal, volume pedal, volume pedal. Assuming the band you're playing with is dynamic (and we hope it is!) make sure you're aware of your volume relative to the overall dynamics of the band/song. The biggest mistake new organ players make is that they slam down the pedal and play at full volume for the whole song. The masters apply the pedal, in conjunction with the drawbars, in a way that adds character, tension, and release. These things can't be taught, but they can be learned after years of being yelled at on stage...

4. I know you mentioned in your OP that you are a good soloist.. Just be aware that playing a good, musical solo on the organ is not as easy as you may think. If you come from a piano background, it is especially tricky at first. "Un-learn" your piano instincts. Think "I'm singing" rather than "I'm hitting a key..." Generally speaking it's not good to play "notey, noodlely" leads that try to cram in as many notes as possible into a single bar. Think "I want to play something sexy that will get me laid" rather than " I want to impress my jazz teacher..." If you are asked to play a solo, you'll never be faulted for quoting the melody. Singable lines are good. Singable lines with great rhythm are even better. If you can't sing and dance to what you're playing, than it's not musical and it won't be a good solo.



Edited by coolio (11/26/11 08:24 PM)

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#2360619 - 11/24/11 06:46 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: learjeff]
Jeff_D_in_MD Offline
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Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 533
Loc: Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: learjeff
Here are a couple simple tricks that I get a lot of mileage from. ...
Great post! I should print it out and tape it to the wall next to my keyboard. smile
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#2360623 - 11/24/11 07:15 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: telecaster]
Steve Nathan Offline
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Registered: 01/06/06
Posts: 2002
Loc: Nashville, TN
Quote:
Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?


Listen to records endlessly. Train your ear to figure out what you're hearing, and copy it. Lather/Rinse/Repeat

I've known a lot of great blues organ players in my life. Not one of them has ever said they learned to play Blues by reading about it.
I know I'll get some crap for this, but I guess I don't care.

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#2360625 - 11/24/11 07:18 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: rockkeys]
tucktronix Offline
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Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 737
Loc: Rochester, NY
I won't go in-depth chord-wise since pretty much everything has been covered in the previous posts(a lot of it is Japanese to me, anyway), but here are few tips...

LISTEN to and follow the dynamics of the band. This is especially important. When the band goes low, you get low. When the band goes higher, you do the same. Someone mentioned about the volume pedal. It is your friend.

DRAWBARS, drawbars, drawbars!! I change them a lot during a song. I don't like to use the same registrations during the whole song. Again, always follow the dynamics of the band. During slow blues, I like to use more of a mellow setting, like 80000008 or so and may change during the higher points. Also, be aware of the turnarounds. I may try some soulful licks during the turnarounds and in between some chords. With blues, everything is done in small doses. So do very little at a time, and not during the entire song. With shuffles, I play accents, using fewer notes to enhance the groove.

..and finally, play with feeling!
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#2360643 - 11/24/11 09:40 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: mate_stubb]
Outkaster Offline
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Registered: 02/25/06
Posts: 3669
Loc: Rochester, NY
Originally Posted By: mate_stubb
Forget the jazz stuff for now. It is way more advanced than what you need to know for blues playing.

Pick up some old Allman Brothers (Live at the Fillmore East, for example) and listen to Gregg Allman's simple but effective playing. Start there.


I agree completely. People tend to think they can learn stuff from DVD's or they over think it. My experience is they can be a huge waste of money unless your someone that can cop licks or really pick out what they are doing. Your not going to use a DVD or website for reference in the field.


Edited by Outkaster (11/24/11 09:41 PM)
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#2360646 - 11/24/11 09:54 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: Steve Nathan]
MAJUSCULE Offline
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Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 2575
Loc: Edmonton, Alberta
Originally Posted By: Steve Nathan
Quote:
Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?


Listen to records endlessly. Train your ear to figure out what you're hearing, and copy it. Lather/Rinse/Repeat

I've known a lot of great blues organ players in my life. Not one of them has ever said they learned to play Blues by reading about it.
I know I'll get some crap for this, but I guess I don't care.


I don't know why anyone would give you shit for this. idk Seems pretty rock-solid. thu
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#2360715 - 11/25/11 06:58 AM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: orangefunk]
telecaster Offline
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Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 63
Loc: Drøbak Norway
Originally Posted By: orangefunk

Hei Hei

Also go to the jam sessions in Oslo (usually in Grønland) .... I sometimes go there... blues playing is not really my thing but I can survive on a rhodes sound wink

btw. If you really want to get good, I can recommend a fabulous organ teacher in Oslo.

hilsen!


hei!! Ja takk, kan du sende meg en PM, prøvde en til deg men kom ikke igjennom?
:-)

mvh
Otto

sorry for talking Norwegian, I am just saying thanks........
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#2360720 - 11/25/11 07:18 AM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: learjeff]
DanS Offline
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Registered: 11/14/00
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Originally Posted By: learjeff

My weakness is solos. Once I've played both my licks ...


Man, you have 2??
Lucky!
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#2360728 - 11/25/11 08:21 AM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: telecaster]
orangefunk Offline
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Registered: 04/14/02
Posts: 3185
Originally Posted By: telecaster
Originally Posted By: orangefunk

Hei Hei

Also go to the jam sessions in Oslo (usually in Grønland) .... I sometimes go there... blues playing is not really my thing but I can survive on a rhodes sound wink

btw. If you really want to get good, I can recommend a fabulous organ teacher in Oslo.

hilsen!


hei!! Ja takk, kan du sende meg en PM, prøvde en til deg men kom ikke igjennom?
:-)

mvh
Otto

sorry for talking Norwegian, I am just saying thanks........


Yep I sent you a PM after I wrote the first message, but seems like something isnæt working as I have not seen your message either.

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#2360729 - 11/25/11 08:22 AM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: telecaster]
area51recording Offline
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Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 1085
Loc: Newburgh,IN
Economy is deinitely the key, especially if your playing behind a guitar player who is channeling his inner Stevie Ray (Who I believe was actually channeling his inner Hendrix). Around these parts in blues bands they call the organ solo "the inconsequential space between the last guitar solo and the next guitar solo.......


Edited by area51recording (11/25/11 08:22 AM)

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#2360738 - 11/25/11 08:51 AM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: mate_stubb]
kanker. Offline
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Originally Posted By: mate_stubb
Forget the jazz stuff for now. It is way more advanced than what you need to know for blues playing.
That really depends on the kind of blues you're talking about. It's a deeply rich and varied genre, and some of it does require a good jazz knowledge to play effectively.

Quote:
Pick up some old Allman Brothers (Live at the Fillmore East, for example) and listen to Gregg Allman's simple but effective playing. Start there.
Heh, I have to admit I've never thought of Allmans or Gregg as particularly effective, especially when it comes to blues.

I'd look to cats like Booker T, Bill Doggett, and Steve Winwood, for simple yet effective. You can branch out from those cats in a wide variety of directions.
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#2360748 - 11/25/11 09:36 AM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: kanker.]
Michelle (ggurl) Offline
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Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 2610
Loc: near San Francisco
Originally Posted By: kanker.


I'd look to cats like Booker T, Bill Doggett, and Steve Winwood, for simple yet effective. You can branch out from those cats in a wide variety of directions.


+1, especially,for me, Steve Winwood. When I was playing blues and blues rock, he really was an influence for me. I concur with others here that say really listening with an intent to absorb what you are hearing, and trying to emulate that, is the best way to learn this kind of music. Basic voicings for guidelines are OK to start (and you have some great suggestions here) but for every example of its use, you can probably find another that is an exception. That's why listening to the music you want to play, identifying what you really like, and picking it out by ear is really a preferable way to learn. And you get the feel of the music that way too.
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#2360774 - 11/25/11 12:14 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: Michelle (ggurl)]
Jazz+ Offline
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Registered: 05/15/04
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I've always played 7 3 5 to 3 7 9 for C7 to F7
Then for G7: 3 7 8

Isn't that kosher in a blues band?

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#2360784 - 11/25/11 12:55 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: orangefunk]
telecaster Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 63
Loc: Drøbak Norway
Originally Posted By: orangefunk


Yep I sent you a PM after I wrote the first message, but seems like something isnæt working as I have not seen your message either.


I have mailed the admin about the PM trouble, maybe it will be fixed fast :-)
my mail is rojohn at broadpark.no
cheers
otto
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#2360786 - 11/25/11 12:56 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: telecaster]
telecaster Offline
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Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 63
Loc: Drøbak Norway
Thanks a lot guys, lots of good advice here !
cheers
otto
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#2360787 - 11/25/11 01:00 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: Steve Nathan]
telecaster Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 63
Loc: Drøbak Norway
Originally Posted By: Steve Nathan
Quote:
Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?


Listen to records endlessly. Train your ear to figure out what you're hearing, and copy it. Lather/Rinse/Repeat

I've known a lot of great blues organ players in my life. Not one of them has ever said they learned to play Blues by reading about it.
I know I'll get some crap for this, but I guess I don't care.


Steve, you are of course very right, but not all of us are built the same way, I could really use a little help to lift me
up a bit to become a better player.
I guess that I am not completely alone as there are quite a few
music teachers in the world ?
smile
cheers
otto
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#2360797 - 11/25/11 01:48 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: telecaster]
darc68 Offline
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Registered: 11/14/09
Posts: 270
Loc: Ct., USA
Great topic and great advice. I think I`ll refer back to this thread often.
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#2360805 - 11/25/11 02:32 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: telecaster]
SK Offline
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Registered: 12/24/06
Posts: 4055
Loc: North America
To the OP: Basic blues is the easiest improvisational system - but like any music, deeper blues is rooted in feeling, with shades of jazz and other things. There are tons of tips and courses on playing blues you can research, but no one can teach feeling. That's why listening to records and practicing is the only way to discover your own feeling and what you like, so you can play authentically and organically. What you play eventually has to come from you.

If you already have true feeling for the blues, you're halfway there. Talking about how to play the blues won't get you there, but it could give you a case of the blues (which would be valid.) laugh

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#2360834 - 11/25/11 04:52 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: Steve Nathan]
Dave Pierce Offline
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Registered: 04/24/02
Posts: 3995
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Originally Posted By: Steve Nathan
Quote:
Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?


Listen to records endlessly. Train your ear to figure out what you're hearing, and copy it. Lather/Rinse/Repeat

I've known a lot of great blues organ players in my life. Not one of them has ever said they learned to play Blues by reading about it.
I know I'll get some crap for this, but I guess I don't care.


So, before you take any of my advice over Steve's, you should find out who he is and who I am. (Hint: I am a dude who plays on the weekends for stupidly small amounts of money.) wink

Having said that, I would add one this to this: Play, play, play! (Is that three things?) Play with other people. Do it a lot.

For me, I can learn a lot of stuff in my room with headphones on. And that's great. But until I try to play that stuff in real time, with other musicians, I don't really know whether it works for me or not.

Good luck!

--Dave
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#2360835 - 11/25/11 05:02 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: learjeff]
klaus*simmer Online   content
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Registered: 09/08/08
Posts: 246
Loc: rock in the pacific


The other is the same trick I use more on piano, which is to take the standard 7-3-5 voicing for a dominant chord, and walk it up and down the scale 2 steps (3 chords altogether). Also, omitting the middle of the three notes.

great[quote][/quote] thread - learjeff - a little thick here - can you (re)explain what you mean with up and down the scale 2 steps?

thanks!!
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#2360850 - 11/25/11 06:33 PM Re: How to play organ in a blues band? [Re: klaus*simmer]
Jazz+ Offline
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Registered: 05/15/04
Posts: 4651
Part 1) Classic blues ballad organ sound at 2:00 Jim Toney (organ) with BB King from 1968.

A great organ SOLO at 6:30
And at 8:27 watch the organ players left hand playing bass:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBWcSc3nPow

Part 2) Classic blues ballad organ sounds again by Jim Toney with B.B., briefly shows the organists hands :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5URVbh3KX8

Footnote: Published May 06, 2007.

TONEY, JAMES

JAMES TONEY Las Vegas musician, James S. Toney, 65, passed away Wednesday, May 2, 2007. He was employed as a keyboard player for over 30 years with B.B. King. He is survived by his wife, LaVerne; daughters, Donna and Tonia of Michigan; sons, Jason and Michael of Las Vegas; brothers, Thomas of Mississippi, Robert of Texas and Paul of Michigan; sisters, Mary of Mississippi, and Pat of Arkansas; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Visitation will be from 1-2 p.m. Thursday, May 10, and services to follow at 2 p.m., at Palm Mortuary, 7400 W. Cheyenne Ave, Las Vegas


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